After many emails, videos, and phone calls, I first met Cailin and Erica for their engagement session at El Yunque Rainforest, where I confirmed what my instinct was already telling me: they're the sweetest! Their same-sex destination beach wedding was one of the most delightful and heartwarming events I've worked on in my life.
Smitten from the beginning!
After meeting on an online dating app, it felt real even from their first date. After dating long-distance for a while, co-parenting furbabies, going on trips, and learning many ways in which they complement each other, Erica was ready for the next step.
In intimate Erica fashion, she proposed in the privacy of their home. One day Cailin was doing the dishes, and Erica came into the kitchen and asked her to sit on the couch. Erica then got down on one knee, said she wanted to be with Cailin forever, and asked Cailin to marry her. Cailin, of course, said yes.
A Puerto Rico Same-Sex Destination Wedding on the Beach!
Erica loves the beach. Cailin has always loved the island because of her uncle, who has lived for decades in Puerto Rico. All the happy memories of her trips as a child made it obvious this could be their dream destination. So the planning started!
They originally wanted a very intimate summer ceremony with cocktails and dinner for about ten people. Along the way, as vaccination increased, their guestlist almost duplicated, but the low-key vibe never went away. It was evident how special were each of their guests to them; all the love they projected towards the couple deeply moved me.
LGBTQ-friendly wedding vendors in Puerto Rico
Planning a wedding from abroad is always complicated, and that's without the pandemic chaos! On top of that, building a Puerto Rico wedding vendor team that's not only LGBTQ-friendly but also PROUD to serve a same-sex couple is a challenge. But not impossible!
As a photographer, I'm usually the primary local contact for a couple when they plan micro weddings or elopements. Although I always recommend it, there is rarely the need for a full-service wedding planner. So I offer consultation in my elopement packages to match the couple to great vendors to fit their needs. We were lucky and blessed to find an excellent team of vendors who made it a perfect day for them.
After many executive orders and the craziness surrounding the pandemic, Cailin and Erica were lucky that the COVID cases dropped dramatically right before their wedding date, making most of the event restrictions obsolete. More reasons to celebrate!
A perfect beach day for a wedding
The micro wedding happened in the Rio Grande area, at their Airbnb rental in Playa las Picúas. I had recently done Karina & Gamalier's engagement session there! It was a perfect beach day, and the beach was packed!
Initially, I was concerned with the amount of attention, as I know Erica particularly doesn't love PDA (one reason we chose El Yunque as a secluded location for the shoot). However, the crowd didn't disturb the view because the ceremony would happen on the second level of the terrace area, and the energy they brought was amazing!
When pronounced married, they just went wild! It was exhilarating to receive that love and acceptance from total strangers. We later went down and took a picture with all the beachgoers in the background.
Sunset dinner and reception
They celebrated the night away on an intimate seated dinner on the lower level of the terrace, where they shared toasts, words of affirmation and gratitude, and happy first dances. As they served dinner, I left with the biggest smile and a whole heart, feeling so fortunate to witness such beautiful love stories.
Puerto Rico Wedding Vendors for This Event
Wedding Photography: Weddings by Camille Fontanez
Wedding Planner: Eventique by Yash
Florist: Glow Events by Anabel Rodríguez
Wedding Cake: Double Cake
Music & DJ: SBN Entertainment
Make-up & Hair: Neidaliz Garcia
Officiant: Lic. Ana Maria Hernandez from Wonderland PR
Bridal Dress: Watters dress from Nitsa's Salon in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Chef: Caribbean Catering